Another change to the (previous) 21-year limit on restrictive covenants in favor of homeowners' associations

Bill Stiles Iowa Real Estate & Land Use Iowa Commercial Litigation Law Dickinson Law Des Moines Iowa

Posted on 12/09/2014 at 05:07 PM by William Stiles

The Iowa Legislature changed the result expressed in the Chipman case mentioned in my blog of March 1, 2012. Now, Senate File 2312 provides that covenants contained in such documents as the declaration of a horizontal property regime (condominium) or proprietary leases (for cooperative housing ownership), shall remain effective as long as the condominium or cooperative remains in existence. This statutory enactment provides for both prospective and retrospective applications. Thus, homeowner's associations (created in covenants that are older than twenty-one years from their creation) no longer need to worry about their ability to levy assessments or enforce covenant provisions. As part of this legislation, Iowa's state use and reversion statute was also amended to somewhat ameliorate the invalidity of all use restrictions that were over twenty-one years from their date of creation.

This amendment effects covenants created in a document other than one creating or implementing a condominium or cooperative housing complex. In this setting, restrictive covenants, are not enforceable, if created prior to July 1, 2014 when their existence is beyond the period of twenty-one years from the date of their creation. Such invalidity can only be prevented by the filing of a proper Verified Claim within said twenty-one year period. For Restrictive covenants created after July 1, 2014, their effectiveness (unless a proper Verified Claim is filed within said twenty-one period) expires after twenty-one years from their creation as they relate to use restrictions on the rights of a landowner to make use of the landowner's real estate such as restricting rights related to commercial uses of the property, rental use, parking and storage of recreational vehicles and their attachments, ownership of pets, outdoor domestic uses, construction and use of accessory structures, building dimensions and colors, and building construction materials and landscaping. This is not an all-inclusive list of such use restrictions that become unenforceable but rather is an example listing used in the statute. The statute goes further by delineating some use restrictions that are not invalidated after twenty-one years, these include, generally speaking, (i) easements, (ii) cost sharing agreement between two or more parcels, and (iii) agreements affecting joint use and maintenance of items such as driveways impacting two or more parcels.

Please contact Bill Stiles with any questions you may have regarding homeowner's associations or covenants.  

The material in this blog is not intended, nor should it be construed or relied upon, as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney if specific legal information is needed.


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